Monday, July 30, 2007

I honestly dont know if I'm going to publish or not

Although now I suspect I will.

I am totally at sea about church. I really feel totally lost. I've been maybe 5 or six times this year. Maybe more. Maybe more like 10-15. I love Elim. It was the first place I went that I wanted to belong to. I really did. There are such great people there. I want them to like me so much it hurts.

But I have changed so much sometimes I barely recognise myself. I was obssessed with church and serving God. I never missed a service. I loved doing youth stuff, I loved going to church. Then it all came crashing down in a way that makes me feel physically sick to remember. I remember when it finally broke me, when I stood with Amy in a toilet cubicle, sobbing, because Alan had resigned. It really broke me.

And it changed me too. I can't get attached. I wandered around churches for a while which was so healing for me. Then I went to Elim and I wanted to settle down, to start to belong. But I've just never gotten in. I have some REALLY good friends at Elim. Helen is one of the coolest people I ever met. But I still feel on the outside. It's really my fault maybe because my attendance has been so sporadic. But sometimes I think its more. Maybe they feel like I look down my nose because I'm educated or something. Maybe I do! Maybe I'm too liberal, too feminist. I don't know.

I love the Pentecostal church. I really can't imagine going to back to the Baptists or any other denomination. I really love the passion, I sense the rightness of the acceptance of the gifts of the Spirit, of the way the Pentecostal church worships the Spirit. Other churches seem boring to me, I can't connect, they seem superficial. I'm not saying they are, I'm just saying...well that I'm a pentecostal at heart. I like happy clappy. I like half decent music. I like passion and I like it simple.

But I hate the prosperity doctrine and I voted for the Greens. I supported the so-called 'anti-smacking' bill. I supported the civil union bill. I do oppose abortion and I'm definitely not keen on the prostitution reform bill. GAH!!! Where oh where will I ever fit?

It scares me, it really does. I feel kind of lost, adrift on a sea of uncertianty. I believe in The Church. I believe it's important for me to be a part of it. But, right now, even when I do have time and I'm not writing 8000 words on Monitoring and Evaluation until 3:00 in the morning on a Sunday night, even then I still don't to go to church. Because it makes me tired. It really tires me out.

Me and Simona sing this song about once an hour at the moment when we're studying. This is really all I have room for right now.

Could I just sit here a while...know that there's nothing that I need to say....safe in the knowledge that you know my ways and love me completely...no need to hide a thing.

I want to go to church. I want to want to go to church.

6 comments:

A. J. Chesswas said...

I don't know exactly how you feel but I've felt similar things before. You're an individual, like me, and it's hard. Thankfully God's given me the strength of conviction to continue with church, and continue being who I am without worrying about whether or not people accept me, and without worrying about the fact most of them don't. I pray God will give you the same strength. The fact you've said you believe in church is a good indication he will.

Jo said...

Hmmmm well actually AJ says similar to what I was going to say but not everything. Here's my version of what he said:

"I don't know exactly how you feel but I've felt similar things. You're an individual, like me, and it's hard. Thankfully God's given me the strength of conviction to continue being who I am without worrying about whether or not people accept me, and without worrying about the fact most of them don't. I pray God will give you the same strength. The fact you've said you believe in church is a good indication he will."

As you know I don't go to church at the moment. I've struggled with that for ages cos I know Christians should go to church but I'm starting to realise that it doesn't make me any less because I don't attend every week. I will go back eventually when God shows me the place to go but for now I'm surrounding myself with people that are in the same place as me and are heading in the same direction and that challenge me at the same time and I think that's what church is. Because we don't meet at a set time every week and stick to a plan (prayer, worship, sermon, worship etc) doesn't mean its not church.

I have come to realise that sometimes we need to take time out from going to Church and at the start that's very difficult but in the long run it makes us better.

Oh heres a weird analogy: You know how people say they want to be single for a while to find out who they are? Isn't it a bit like that? You're spent most of your life in the church environment and with that support but now you need to take some time out and find yourself again?

I'm stop now cos I'm probably really far away from what you're saying but I hope you consider what I've said.

Ciao!

Andrew Brown said...

I remember stages in my life where the act of going to church got me so down, I'd be happy beforehand, and afterwards I'd be so angry and feel so unhappy. Sometimes I don't know why I kept going. It's been weird being on the road now for 4 months, I haven't really had the chance, plus seeing other parts of the world (esp islam countries) has really challenged some of my understanding totally.

I've only just really realised that often people focus on the legality that Paul often talks about and not the freedom that Jesus talks about.

I know what it was that changed it for me, but I won't say what that is because you've made a point of saying you don't want to do what I did.. Good luck

SubversNZ said...

I've never really felt like any Church was right for me, to be honest.

The only way I've really been able to find church that fits is by doing things like Espresso, or Thursday night cell (which I wish I could make more often!), or EU at uni.

Some people say those things aren't Church, but I disagree. And, it's through these things that I've had the energy to participate in conventional church as well.


P.s. Do you know anything about Fowler's Stages of Faith? It might interest you.

Iain said...

Hey Shaz,

Don't mean to buck the trend of AJ/Jo, but I don't think Christians are meant to go to church... I think it is only natural for people to have sympathetic, supportive relationships with other people.

Elim, OBC, whatever, that can go get stuffed. People are what matters. Finding Hel-dawg at Elim is great for you, finding people who can care for you and you can care for them is what counts. I know what you mean about Elim (I felt the same going to my missions camp which Elim did the worship for) - the passion is great, the sincerity is great, but we're both a little older than average there and we're both a little smarter than average there (shock!). We both vote a little bit more left, and we both know what a faith crisis is like (each in our own way).

Could say more, but that's good for now.

~Iain

Debs said...

So...have you gone back to church?